Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Hiring and Letting Go

by: Craig Nathanson


Why hire in the first place?


Any employer hires for the same reason, they have a problem which needs to be fixed. When hiring, the best manager looks at three following factors: if the person has the ability to do the role, if the person has motivation to do the role, and if the person fits well with the existing staff. Too many times, people are hired just on the basis of their resume. Just because someone has the right skills doesn’t mean they will want to do the role which has been designed by someone else. This is why it is critical during the interviewing process to understand whether the candidate is motivated to do the work he or she is applying for. Equally important is to understand if the candidate will fit in well with the existing staff. This includes personality, work style, and skill’s background. The best manager knows that hiring the right person is important not only for getting the new job done, but also for helping the existing team to be more productive.


Who is responsible for employee success?


This might surprise you, but it is not only the employee who is responsible for their success! Organizations are quick to take the credit when the new person does well, and they are equally quick to blame the employee when things don’t work out. The success of the hired person depends on the whole system. For example, a demanding micro-manager will get less performance out of the same person who, instead, might be doing well enough working for a smarter manger. Most people don’t wake up in the morning and decide that today would be a good day to fail at work. Most people arrive at work with hope, anticipation, and feeling that they will do their best, and that they will have a productive day. The best manager knows that the system, which a person works under, determines success. When things go wrong, The best manager will quickly examine the system to understand what failed. For example, let’s say, a bank expects its customer service employees, who work at the desks in the main customer waiting area, to open at least 5 new accounts per day. This bank decides to punish one employee who consistently for a week was opening only 1 account per day. The employee is upset; especially, knowing that there is not much depended on him or her. The best manager examines the system to see what is wrong. Upon investigation, The best manager finds out that many factors may have lead to a poor week. The bank’s credibility may have been impacted by a news article which was describing some ethical issues in the bank’s operations. Or a new bank just opened down the block and was offering free iPods to any new customer, who opened an account. The best manager involves the staff to see what new ideas and plans should be put into a place. There is no blame to pass around.


How to measure new hire assimilation


Most of the time once a person is hired, there is little formal measurement on whether the person is working out other than the probationary review. The best manager knows that the best way to measure is asking a new person on a regular basis how things are going, if a person is happy with the work, if objectives are clear for the person. The best manager wants to know what the new employee needs in order to succeed. The best manager reviews the system and tries to understand whether it is supporting the new employee, and if the new person has good relationships with the peers. The best manager might look at whether the full potential of a new person was used. The best manager will actually ask the new employee if the role is meeting his or her expectations. While these measurements are subjective, the important factor is that they involve both parties in the assessment.


What to do if things don’t work out


Of course there will be times when things don’t work. Many organizations move quickly to fire the employee. This should always be the last resort. Firing a person has many negative effects on the organization. First of all, morale suffers with those employees who remain; many times this same function will be rehired within a year at 2-3 times of the cost. The best manager, instead, tries to understand what went wrong, and if it can be fixed. If not, then a two way conversation takes place and a plan is agreed upon. This plan might involve retraining, it might involve a job rotation, or it might involve a period of time where the employee is given time to interview and pursue other opportunities in the organization. The organization gives these people top priority. Sadly, many organizations, instead, use this redeployment pool as a quick step towards abandonment and termination.


How to let go in a humanistic way


There will be times when people do need to be let go. It is very important how this occurs. Many organizations call outplacement firms to handle this process. An employee comes to work in the morning and meets a stranger… Then, 60 minutes later, someone else is cleaning up the office and bringing employee’s personal items to the parking lot. Many people are treated as criminals while letting them go. The best manager meets personally with the person impacted and answers all questions after discussing the reasons why the person is being dismissed. The best manager explains the next steps which include outplacement assistance for a fairly long period of time over many months to help the person find a new work. The best manager knows this will help the credibility of the organization. When people are terminated in inhumane ways, the existing employees hear about this. Instead of doing their work, they will worry if they are going to be next. As a result, they work in fear and in reactionary mode. When people are let go in humanistic ways, existing employees know at least if things don’t work out, they will have support in finding something else. The best manager knows that this is the right approach for a person and the right moral approach in a society.


Learning summary and next steps


The best manager knows that it’s the system that determines the behavior and performance of its members. What is the process in your organization for hiring, evaluating, and letting go? Does it make sense? What parts need change and why? Only by asking these questions, the organization will have a healthy system where people want to work.


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